Cow Killer; Velvet Ant
If you see one of these beautiful insects just look, don't touch! The name "Cow Killer" is a good indication of what a nasty sting this little gal has! The red and black coloring is a good warning that she is dangerous. Even though these insects look like large velvety ants, they are actually wingless wasps. I got stung by one when I was a child, so I can attest to their painful sting. Like other Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants), only the females can sting. I love telling boys in my classes who have "Hornets" or "Yellowjackets" as a team mascot that their mascot is a girl!!! :) Females lay their eggs in bumble bee nests, the ant larvae eat the bee larvae.